Friday, August 22, 2008

the tv industry love in (day 1)

(Written on a blackberry as I refuse to pay 15 quid for the hotel wifi. Wtf?)

So I am up in Edinburgh, ordinarily one of my favourite places, for an annual meeting of tv industry execs (this probably means nothing to anyone except The Divine Miss M).Naturally, I am a mere scribe for the event, hence I suspect my desire to kill half the delegates already (and there is still a day and a half of this tripe to go).

On friday afternoon I attended a session about how to attract new people ('talent' is the lingo... Feel the pretentiousness) to the industry. It quite frankly made me feel like making a national tour of all of the UK universities informing bright young things not to bother.

First up: a production king who 'slummed it' away from his country mansion (I shit you not) to work 'undercover' (with a film crew naturally) in a hackney caff for 48 hours and find 'talent' that wasn't already sending him begging letters. His resulting appointment was, he said, 'raw' and had 'energy'. Yes but she is being hired as a researcher. can she use finalcut pro? Of course not. This is box ticking at it's very worst.

And then there was Smug Exec No 2, who is proud of the fact that she fished a media studies student out of Teeside and gave him a job as a runner on a bitchy london-placed production (probably on a salary designed to keep him 'hungry', quite literally). Has she really done this kid a favour? She's probably ruined his life.

The point is that it all comes down to who you know and they weren't even denying that. In the words of Smug Exec No 3: when you get a cv it's great to see what someone new has done, but it's also great to check them out with someone you trust in the industry, to whom you can ask the 'real' questions.

And don't get me started on Smug Exec No 4 (the least smug to be fair) who told the anecdote about someone who came to see her - this person had been on unpaid work experience for SIX months.

In my own little way I always, always look after our work placements and I also ensure that at the very least we pay their travel expenses (not meaning to sound smug but in my place this is no mean feat). It's no big deal... I don't go around giving speeches about it. It's just something that I quietly get on with.

jesus. It's going to be a long weekend.


The Divine Miss M said...

Dude that's sick.

It is actually illegal to have work experience people working for nothing UNLESS they are doing it through a school, college or university.


And if you know of it happening you should report the company to BECTU.

We are trying SOOOO hard for this to stop so we can stop using and abusing these kids!

TV is not that cool.

zuzula said...

It did make me feel quite queasy. I couldn't afford to have no income for 6 months for sure. And also, if someone is good enough to be there that long, doesn't it mean that person is worth something?

The Divine Miss M said...


Though it just goes with the whole ego thing that people have for working in TV.

Like you should be grateful for anything you can get because this industry is just so amazing.

What. Utter. Rubbish.